The rain has been cancelled

watering canIt was supposed to rain on Friday but that didn’t manage to happen – as usual if there was rain forecast it went somewhere else. There has been so little rain over the winter and spring that the fields are notably dry up at Go Local Food in Ovington. The work shares have been watering outside as well as in the poly tunnels recently for the first time ever. Ian, our grower, says that the broad beans and peas that have been planted out are really suffering from the dry conditions. He has bought up a trailer load of hay to mulch around the strawberries after they have been watered and organic slug pellets added to help us have some berries this summer. The trial where strawberry runner were planted into straw bales seems not to be a success due to the dry conditions.

Ian is also considering that much mulching after heavy watering may be required this season to produce crops outside on the fields.

The BBC has an item on it’s CBBC Newsround which sums things up rather simply and explains why farmers and growers are concerned about the dry weather this year.

This article says “In April the weather was especially dry – the country saw less than half the amount of rain it normally would. Some farmers, especially those in the south and east of the UK, said there was only 10% of the rainfall they expected to see in March and April.”

HosepipeNow the website dedicated to hosepipe bans (yes, would you believe it there is such a thing!!) says that a hosepipe ban has become more likely this year due to very dry conditions from October 2016 to March 2017. If things do not improve during the rest of the year and there is continued lack of rainfall then next year could well see drought and water restrictions.

You can’t water the Go Local Food fields with a hosepipe and make the effect the same as if it rained. There are also rules for “abstracting water” for agricultural purposes and there are costs for the licences. Of course you also have to have a water supply such as a river or reservoir to take water from – not exactly something to be found at the top of the hill in Ovington.